Lagardere, the French company that used to own Elle magazine and all of its international editions, has officially sold those magazines to the Hearst Corporation. The $885.6 million transaction makes Hearst the second-largest publisher of magazines in the United States, right behind Time Inc. and just ahead of Conde Nast.
WWD reports that the cash sale covers 102 magazine titles in total and includes a master license agreement for the Elle trademark in 15 countries, although which 15 were not specified. Elle has 39 international editions that are sold in 60 countries, making it the largest fashion magazine brand in the world.
Now that Hearst, which publishes Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar, is in control of the Elle brand, it’ll have pretty big clout with fashion and beauty advertisers. The ability to buy ads in those four magazines as a group will undoubtedly be a huge draw for brands looking to get some serious bang for their buck. Of course, as print advertisements continue to decline, Hearst will also reach more people through Elle’s following and be able to create more of those consumer touch points magazine executives rave about these days.
All in all, it’s a smart move for both Lagardere, which had been struggling financially of late, and Hearst, a company whose no-frills approach to publishing has paid off in the long term. It just spent the better part of a billion dollars in cash without thinking about it, after all. Now all we need to do is make sure there are no brawls between Roberta Myers and Glenda Bailey in the Hearst Tower lobby and we’ll be set.
Lagardère Sells International Magazines to Hearst [WWD (Subscription Required)]